Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 7:00PM – 10:00PM
Event held at One Door East
620 S Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
When the location of this FoodieFreaks event was revealed it immediately heightened the anticipation for what was to come. Known for its creative and freshly sourced ingredients, we were all very excited about the experience that was awaiting us from Executive Chef Albert Diaz of One Door East. Chef/Owner Giovanni Rocchio helped plan the wonderful event down to the finest detail. Servers were very knowledgeable about the specifics of each dish with Chef Lucas explaining the origins of each along with detailed ingredient lists. We were even treated to intricate aspects of each wine/cocktail pairing by the Sommelier Adrian Lopez. A big thank you to the entire staff and especially the General Manager Kerry Fasanelli for making this an evening to remember.
As we entered the venue, we were each met with a tall glass of cold Ozeki Junmai Sake welcome drink. It had a silky quality to it that was refreshing and set the mood for the top of the night.
Ozeki Premium Junmai is one of the three sake products that Ozeki first brewed in California in 1979. Ozeki Premium Junmai is the traditional style sake that you can enjoy anyway you would like with a variety of dishes. This sake is dry and delicate on the palate with a full-bodied flavor and well-balanced aroma. Let it warm you in the winter and cool you in the summer.
As we were gathering and waiting for all to arrive, Chef Albert skillfully sliced pieces of fresh Hamachi that he then rested on top of a small rectangle slab of perfectly cooked rice. The Hamachi was deftly painted with truffle oil and then torched to bring out and intertwine the essential flavors of both the fish and truffles. Each piece of fish was topped with flying fish roe, to add some briny flavor and texture, and then finished with a soy sauce glaze.
Our first dish was a quick homemade starter to further set the tone of the evening and to wake up our senses with a revelry for the taste buds. Locally sourced honey from the Circle C Farms in Bonita Springs, Florida was resting atop a whip of chunky bacon butter at one side of a wooden serving board. On the other side was a warm, fluffy and freshly baked scallion brioche. The contrasting use of sweet and creamy combined with bacon and scallions seemed to open the palate thereby foreshadowing the range of flavors to come for the rest of the meal.
This course was paired with Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2014, golden and sun-kissed, this 2014 vintage opens up with the fresh, tropical scents of pineapple and citrus blossom, balanced by the smooth character of vanilla. White peach comes through on the palate, which has a vibrant acidity balanced by the natural character of fully ripe fruit. Medium to full-bodied, this wine has a finish that is lengthy but never heavy, its mix of oak, butter and fruit characteristics blending seamlessly and leaving a harmonious, lingering impression.
Here comes that smell of Truffles again! That is a good start to any dish – but adding it to firm (yet somehow soft) Hiramasa Tartar was masterful. A slight cold smoke flavor permeated the cylindrical tartar mound that sat atop a soft pool of picatta-like whipped creamy vinaigrette. Topped with a smart mix of microgreens and accompanied with a wedge of toasted sourdough bread.
For this course, another cocktail was served up to compliment the next dish. The “One Door East Mojito” made with Flor de Cana White Rum helped expand the range of flavors as if we were stretching and readying our palate muscles for a Foodie marathon.
Next, we were treated to a richly developed and meaty oxtail that came directly from farm to table. Stewed and prepared for more than three hours, this classical dish needs plenty of time to get the meat tender enough to release the intoxicating flavors of this Jamaican classic. Chef Albert did just that and by the time it reached our plates, the meat simply fell off the bone. Adding richness to the deep meaty flavors, the oxtail was finished with a densely-foamed polenta. On the side of the dish was a swath of pickled Maitake mushrooms that balanced the flavors with a Yin/Yang spirit.
Pairing this dish was an exquisite Elouan Pinot Noir 2015. This wine is said to be richer and more full bodied than what is typical of Oregon Pinot Noir, which generally is very lean. Bright ruby red in color. Ripe cranberry, sweet cinnamon and fresh cherry create an inviting bouquet, with a subtle earthiness. The palate shows texture and weight with firm acidity that carries the flavor through. The flavor profile shows red plum, bright cherry, minerality, dusty earth, and a hint of sweet tobacco, creating rustic layers of flavor with soft refined tannins.
The next course was bursting with flavor, presented as a centerpiece styled slab of organic cauliflower. First steamed and then fire grilled, the slight char on the outer edges added a crispness to this perfectly prepared vegetable. The slab sat atop a Japanese green lime sauce that had heat created by a hint of Aji Amarillo.The dish was garnished with brine salt, crispy micro thyme and dried red miso. All together this was much more than just a simple helping of vegetables.
A homemade Nolets’ Gin lemonade cooled down some of the heat of the spicy cauliflower dish.
Freshly caught Warsaw Grouper was the next to arrive at our tables. Firm and meaty is the best way to describe the texture of this fish that was topped with a whipped ponzu beurre blanc sauce. Cooked in a white wine and garlic sauce then topped with red pomegranate caviar and a dusting of crunchy tempura. The pomegranate caviar added a bold, yet delicate and tart fruity taste to compliment the fish’s excellent native flavors.
Bianchi Sauvignon Blanc 2015 accompanied this dish which is known for flavors of pear flesh, lemon pith and white flowers that make for a classic base to the nose of this bottling, but the intriguing scent of chive-like herbs take it to another level. There is a nice textural grip to the palate, with brisk flavors of grass, stonefruit flesh, lime peels and chopped herbs. The sizzle of acidity grows into the finish.
We were in store for more farm to table with the next dish of wood fired lamb chops. Lots of smokiness to this dish was offset by the chili apple compote garnish and black sesame paste base. A bright green wasabi leaf was added to the dish that was finished with a lamb au jous. Perfectly cooked and balanced.
The paring was a Bianchi Merlot 2013 which has noticeable and very upfront cherry aromas in the nose with an interesting touch of herb in the mouth. As one’s mouth is watering, a medium intense fine tannin tactility coats the palate followed by a long finish of cherry jam on medium dark toasted whole wheat.
Dessert #1 was next up. With flavors that built and exploded, the passion fruit filled dark chocolate was spectacular. Once the hardened outer crust was breached, the smooth and creamy flavors of passion fruit was inescapable. Dusted with real gold and plated with feuilletine chocolate hazelnut crunch added a crunchy goodness to this rich dessert.
The desserts were matched with Hecht & Bannier Cotes de Provence Rose 2015. This takes a path quite apart from the one used for their Languedoc rose, with its high proportion of Syrah. They seek a Provence rose of immense charm and minerality redolent of dried herbs and mountain flower
To finish off this delectable dinner, Chef Albert prepared a homemade wasabi ice cream. Smoky, sharp, yet also sweet – a scoop sat deftly atop a hibiscus coulis and a chocolate crumble. It has to be experienced to understand the blast of flavors that was generated from this final dish.